By Kerry Law
Isley Brothers puns aside, here’s a Highams Park restaurant to bring a summer feeling into the colder months.
After taking over the site of a long-established Italian restaurant, Breeze opened with quite a full-on Ibizan bar vibe in 2017. Certainly nothing like it had been seen in this corner of northeast London for some time. But the swanky interior and uniformed waiting staff weren’t all show and no substance—luckily, Breeze is a family-run mezze bar and grill serving good food in a friendly environment. On warmer days the doors are flung open so customers can dine outside, but even if it’s cold and raining the food can still make you feel like you’re on holiday.
The menu, described as modern Mediterranean, offers salad, seafood, pasta, casserole, vegetarian and grill dishes, but I believe the best choices come from the selection of hot and cold mezze. The pan-fried green mussels, chicken livers and borek were delicious, but you could probably stick a pin in the list and not go wrong.
The main dishes come in hearty portions, with the slow-cooked lamb shank and sea bass with capers being particularly good. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, the salads sound perfect (roasted roots and ricotta; red quinoa and kale; panzanella).
Vegetarians can enjoy a slightly more extensive choice than the obligatory tomato-based pasta dish. Aubergine salad, stir-fried vegetables, falafel and hellim are all on the menu, alongside vegetarian and vegan options in the mezze, salad and pasta sections.
A well-stocked bar at Breeze encourages a bit more of a ‘night out’ feel in the evenings. Perch on a bar stool, order a cocktail, squint a bit, and you could be in the West End. Or simply enjoy the fact that we can do this sort of thing, even in suburbia.
When you have the kids in tow, the staff at Breeze work really hard to make it easier for you. On our first visit we were juggling a toddler and a baby of only a couple of months. The manager, a mother herself, asked if she could hold our fussing little one (yes, I need a hand free to eat this borek!), and promptly carried her around the restaurant, keeping her happy and soothed while we managed to swallow a few more mouthfuls of yummy food. Can this be a service in all restaurants, please?
Breeze is open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks until 11pm (Monday to Wednesday), until 12 midnight (Thursday to Saturday) and until 10pm on Sunday. Visit www.breeze.london for full details and bookings.